I've been in Florida during the George Zimmerman trial and got suckered into watching portions of it on TV. It was on every major station so if you turned on the tv at any point during the day that was all you had to watch. It was fascinating. The prosecution did a totally piss poor job even to my untrained eyes, and the defense lawyer was a complete and total ass. I guess that what they pay him to be but I just wanted to slap him.
It was pretty clear that the prosecution hadn't managed to make their points or provide a coherent explanation on why George Zimmerman's acount of the night didn't make sense and even I would have probably had to return a not-guilty verdict on second degree murder based on the evidence presented. The manslaughter charge should have been the initial charge and if they had done that they may have won that one.
But, as my daughter pointed out, the real lesson here was that it allowed me to find out which of my friends are racists. The conversations during the trial, and it really was a major topic of every conversation down here in Florida, gave insights into peoples' perceptions and fears of young black males that were so saddening and disheartening. Many of these people have never had a actual personal or friendly relationship with African-Americans, especially young men. The young men who serve them at the local McDonald's are probably the closest they have ever been. These white folks have no context except their longstanding belief that these kids and families are somehow different and dangerous and they firmly believe that Trayvon was a thug in training who had some kind of superpower that made George Zimmerman so fearful of him that he "had" to shoot him. That's because these folks don't see that Trayvon was just like their kid, if their kid wore a hoodie and ate skittles and iced tea.